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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shuttle Discovery Arrives in Washington

I was out on the national mall yesterday morning to watch the Shuttle Discovery (atop a 747) fly over Washington DC en route to Dulles Airport and the Smithsonian Museum. Having watched Discovery when it was in orbit it was kind of bittersweet to see it go by this way. The event reminded me of going out to Hyde Park in London to watch the final overflight of the Concorde SSTs.

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  1. A bit bittersweet.
    While I am sure it will be enjoyed on display at the Smithsonian, certainly the era has ended.
    I saw a newspaper item yesterday wondering whether the real commitment and excitement of space exploration (manned that is) is over.
    Of course the marvels of robotic and unmanned exploration continue to expand.
    But personally, sorry to be maudlin, I think back on the fact that I have LIVED the entirety of the era, literally, remembering Mercury, Gemini, Apollo missions as almost yesterday...truly embedded in personal history.

    Remembering exactly the moment of hearing of the Challenger and Columbia shuttle tragedies, as touchstones in the timeline of the highs and lows (along with the fire and astronaut deaths of Apollo One on the launchpad).

  2. Great photos, those - amazing that the jumbo will actually carry it!

    I saw an excellent documentary on Apollo 17 the other night. That was some achievement - and it highlighted what human beings can do when there are problems to fix that machines cannot and it highlighted the human ability to explore and discover which machines lack. It left me thinking "if only". If only we'd carried on with manned missions like that and made it to Mars, we'd know so much more about spaceflight now.

  3. Space exploration will continue, and as a multi-national effort.

  4. Yes, it really is a shame that the USA can no longer put men in space; a sign of the times, IMO.

    If only NASA had not lost the plans to the Saturn V, the command module, and LEM, and all the associated systems, and all the telemetry data and their original video footage of the Apollo program, who knows what we'd be doing up there now with the added advantages of today's technology.

    It is inexcusable and a national disgrace IMO.

  5. America in decline... Huge reductions in science funding but huge increases in food stamp funding. A public school system that is science and math illiterate. And a culture where anyone interested in science or math is ridiculed. Sad.


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